Memory: An Age of Dust

So I dunno. A lot of people believe in past lives and talk about how blurry they are. How dream-like they are. How they can’t remember really detailed things except in specific cases.

For me… my past lives are crystal flipping clear. They come in so clearly that I remember them about as well as I do my current life here. Whether it’s my mind filling stuff in or it’s actually real, they’re there, they’re powerful, and they are all lifetimes and lifetimes and LIFETIMES of stories. To that end, I’ve decided to start sharing some of them.

The streets are empty. The houses are deserted. The whole town- if you could even call the run-down shacks here part of a town- is filled with dust and age. I don’t remember who I am.

I don’t remember where I came from or what my name was. I don’t remember anything except that I don’t need to eat, sleep or drink. As far as I know, there isn’t anything to eat, there’s nothing to drink, and though there are ‘beds’, they’re ancient and fragile.

It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. It sounds like the end of the world. But it’s real. I feel the dust between my toes, I look at my hands and down at my feet and can still feel the heat of it.

The town itself is filled with nothing but run down shacks. I remember walking into a few of them. I never speak, just walk in here and there. I’m not afraid, even when the sun is below the horizon and it gets dark. There’s simply nothing for miles and miles and miles.

It’s eerily peaceful. I pass the days doing not much of anything. The ground is dust, there aren’t any streets. I draw in it with sticks or with my fingers. I sit or stand around staring at nothing.  The sun beats down on me, but I’m never too hot or too cold. I poke myself on a nail once, while exploring a shack, but I’m not wearing any clothing to use as a bandage, so I favor my right foot instead and don’t think much of it. It bleeds green for a while. Something sticky, like sap.

I don’t know anything about it, though. I don’t know what it means or what it is. It’s just what I bleed. It surprises me the first time it happens, but after that I don’t care so much. I’d barely even felt the nail, just been aware of it poking through my skin.

After a while- I don’t know how much time passes, I don’t have a precise day count- I feel an unfamiliar sensation, like… like I’m dry around the edges. Withered, I guess. I don’t know where to go, if there were maps in the shacks I wouldn’t know how to read them. Since the whole town is empty of water or liquid of any kind, I decide to walk in a straight line until I find some. I don’t know what direction I chose. If this world is like the one we’re on, I was going towards the sun during morning hours.

I couldn’t smell anything. I could taste the dust, sort of (dry and gritty, like sand). I didn’t have a mouth, or at least, something that I could open and close. I seemed to taste things with my feet. My eyes were pretty good. I could see things around me well. There weren’t any artificial lights that in retrospect I could understand, so the night sky was always ablaze with stars and the moon, making it easy to see and to find my way.

It was just dull, at first, walking. I never got tired, though I could never go beyond a fast walk- whatever my muscles were made of wouldn’t allow it. A few days passed like that. Three I think, counting the times the sun came out and went down again. I always felt at my best during the day.

The fourth day I got lucky. Thoughts like this felt a little blurry and had been getting a little blurrier by the day. But I reached a stream, after a time, a small expanse of water trickling quite slowly. I went to stand next to the bank, where a few reeds were growing. Instinctively I felt they might interfere, so I bent down and pulled them up. They were weird, like the seeds along their tips had a natural adhesive. In retrospect it might have been a survival mechanism. In any case, I pulled them up and away out of the ground, roots and all, and set them aside. Then I dug my feet into the muddy dust near the bank of the river and waited. My body seemed to know what to do. My brain itself was having trouble thinking during this time.

I remember being aware of the sun coming up, and the sun going down. It happened a few times but I didn’t count how many.  In that time, I felt something soothing, like the water was flowing against my toes. I could feel how they’d burrowed into the ground and dug into the side of the river.

I suppose I felt happy, then, to know that I’d succeeded, and, taking a moment to look to either side of me, I saw that there were other large plants rising, towering up into the sky. I remember feeling a vague longing, and hopefulness that one day I might be as tall.

There, along that river, I remember coming back alive while being still, feeling the witheredness fade, replaced by life. There, along the river, I remember I just stood, thinking about all sorts of things, but mostly just living.

Just being alive, luxuriating in it, in the feel of the water against my roots and the peaceful days ahead. No strife or war or worries. Sun, water, the dusty earth. Moon, stars, the pleasant cool of the night. Whether I was the only one of my kind or not, I felt at peace there. I don’t know my story or where I came from, but without the pressure of others like me, my curiosity stayed right where it was.

There’s more to this life than that, but it was just a few moments I wanted to share.



©2012 Eris (Sam Oliver)

Sometimes that memory comes back to tease me, on days that are particularly stressful. Most of the time I think it helps me have a laid-back, peaceful outlook on life, and gives me the strength I need to know that I can sit… and sit… and wait… and never feel like it’s dull or wrong. I can live in each moment and take it for what it is. That’s the gift I took away from that life. It’s just one of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands I could share. Ones I remember, no better than stories here, no better than myths or legends. But they are mine, all of them, mine and part of my mind, part of who I am. So I’ll take them, cherish them, hold them and try to understand them.

And I’ll share them with you all, if you like. I hope they bring peace or feeling of some kind, the way they do for me.


Story Status – World – Discovery

First let’s get the dirty secret out of the way.

My schedule is out of wack! I’m looking around for work because I’d love to go up to Wisconsin to visit a couple friends over the Summer. In order to do that, I need a job and money. I’ve spent the vast majority of my precious free time job searching instead of writing, and thus, this extremely late post only to let you know that the story is still being worked on and that I will persevere, yada yada yada. You know the drill! It’s just one of those dumb life things. I’ll be back to continue Mesdan’s story and to post small short ones that I wrote for free and fun as well as poetry more frequently as my schedule settles down.

Right now it’s just ALL up in the air.

Okay, boring news post done. Let me move on to what inspired me to come back to write in the first place….

How do we define ourselves? How can we look at each other, one another, at who we are and come up with words to describe it? I was surfing the internet– mostly to read up about the opinions of others on the whole gender thing– and looking around and I saw plenty of quizzes with these strange misconceptions about how gender works and after taking two or three separate quizzes and getting different results each time, I realized that there is a simple answer lurking behind this.

No one really knows. Not for sure. All we can do is throw terms together and cultural assumptions, all that jazz, and pretend that it’s actually relevant in terms of how we feel we must be.

Yes, lately people have been more accepting of the transgender community and the genderqueer folk out there– at the least in the U.S. It’s at least more widely known that we exist.  But, and this is the real kick in the pants, no one really agrees on what that means. There’s all this confusion about what’s polite and what works. People want to find a way to paint it all the same like they try to do with gay and bisexual culture, they want to find defining features to pin on the lot of us. Stereotypes.

I won’t say something cliché like ‘Oh, we genderqueer folk, we just defy stereotypes!’ because we don’t. There are some that sort of fit. But I’ve never believed in stereotypes in the first place. All they do is provide great big sweeping misconceptions that can be applied to anyone you meet. In my experience, they do more harm than good, even if they cement a clear image in the minds of the people, it’s often the wrong one.

Some of us wear dresses all the time. Some of us take pleasure in wearing clothes that don’t seem to match our bodies. Some of us really want to change our bodies to match our minds. Some of us probably look kind of strange, and some of us have tragic life stories that can be used as fronts by the unwary, ostensibly well-meaning bystander- ‘oh, it’s okay that he’s like this, he had a Tragic Life, he’s just a little strange and has never really been okay after that Incident’.

Explanations like that or along a similar vein- it’s okay, he’s just WEIRD- drive me crazy. It’s okay, she just isn’t NORMAL. It’s okay.

Yes, it IS okay. It’s fine to be genderqueer or transgendered or any of that. But it’s NOT fine because you say so, because the world decided it was fine. It’s fine because it’s how it IS. It’s how we ARE, how we LIVE and breathe. It’s not strange, it’s not weird, it’s not just a quirk or a character flaw you can explain away and hide under the stairs, we are real, breathing, living people, we are real people with hopes and dreams and lives, and any explanation that makes us less than that by trying to define us as outsiders to society, like we aren’t natural?

No. Don’t give me that bullshit. Don’t try to tell me that the God or Goddess or whoever up there or down there or around us said that It Wasn’t So. Say what you truly mean. It unsettles YOU. Don’t hide behind religion or a great big ideal. Don’t pretend it can shield you from the truth. Stand up and confront it. Stand up and confront US. Let us talk instead of excusing it away. Don’t belittle our problems. We all have them! We all deal with them and suffer through them. There isn’t time for mincing about the issue and letting it be swallowed by committee and politics.

We’re so much more than an issue on the ballot. I can’t stand to see a whole people, a whole variety of subculture reduced to nothing more than rights and words on paper. It lets the bigots win. Fight for our rights to be ourselves? Why should we fight for something we should just have?

Is it not hard enough to fight daily issues without pushing through a slurry of idiot bigotry and a blizzard of base moral deceit?

But these complaints and arguments have surely been brought to the fore more than once. The fact that we fight changes nothing. People down the ages have grown to understand that. Fighting changes nothing. Revolution changes nothing- just swings around in a circle. We can stamp and moan and tear our hair as much as we like. If we want to see change, it will be in the calm before and after the storm, not during it. No true tempest brings anything other than outright destruction.

Which brings me to discovery, and the discovery of myself. It’s a small step and one no doubt to be lost in the ocean ahead of us. But I want to share, because knowledge can transcend so much, touching even those it might at first be lost upon. I can only share of myself, unfortunately. I dare not speak for those others who might be like me. I just hope it’s enough.

A while back I wrote on the gender sphere. I’m not going to expound on that so much as I’m going to expound on me. I realize I’m something of a mystery to a bunch of people, and if you like keeping that mystery, maybe you won’t read further. I’ll understand. Spoilers about people you know can be a little strange.

I’m going to make the rather broad and bold assumption that most people know I’m a shapeshifter. I don’t mean that in a literal ‘I can mold my body the way I want it to be’ sense. If I had that sort of power or technology I don’t think I’d be searching for a job. I could just join the circus or sell DNA samples to scientists eager to study how it worked.

I mean my mind shifts shape constantly. It flows like water, freezes into ice, or evaporates into vapor, always moving, always undirected, flowing from thought to thought.

The shapes are interesting. When talking to people on the internet I like to choose an ‘avatar’ for emotes and things, for hugging or waving, et cetera. The avatar changes constantly.

Some days I might be a regular human, with varying shades of hair, skin color, size, shape, eyes, amounts of body hair or associated scent, to say nothing of the clothing I might be wearing at any time.

Other days I’ll mix it up. Perhaps I’ll add bestial or elven features to my appearance. Perhaps I’ll communicate telepathically or choose a shape with an amorphous, jelly-like body. I’ve taken forms made up of air, forms with six arms or tentacle-like appendages, things that’d look like the cuddliest lovecraftian horror ever to angelic or mythical creature mixes. I’ll mix and match features like scales with skin or chromatophores for flavor.

That sort of shapeshifting is freeing. It gives a brief direction for my thoughts, lets me express myself to my fullest. I’m never so happy as when I can let that go, as when I can shift shape freely. I’ve discovered the reason behind it, too.

I’m never comfortable in one shape. Never. None of them fit me. None of them express who I am properly, none of them get more than a glimmer of me in them. No shape I take will truly show who I am. Some are close.

Some are dangerously distant.

I shift shape so often in mind and in spirit here, because I’m searching, almost desperately, for one which I can say fits who I am with some form of permanency. That’s why it feels so good to change. That’s why I have such a low tolerance for bigotry or slurs. I think I know, more than anything else, am SURE of this one thing. I don’t belong no matter what shape I’m in. The only thing that gives me greater joy than searching for a form I feel right in is making damn certain that no one else needs to suffer through that disjointed feeling, that ‘I don’t belong here’ feeling, that awful, wrenching, empty space in your heart. In my heart.

No one should need to suffer through it. If I had my way, no one would.

Thanks, as always, for listening. I hope sharing this helped a little for those of you who know me and even those of you who don’t. I can’t speak for all the shapeshifters out there, (and really, judging by how rare we are I’m not sure if I actually expect one to post back to say ‘Wait a second, that’s not right!’) but I sure as heck can speak for me. So I have, and there you have it!

On a more positive note, I’m going to be eating soon! Yay!